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Intro to the 5th Edition


Action Research is an invaluable guide to novice researchers from a diversity of disciplines, backgrounds, and levels of study for understanding how action research works in real-life contexts. The Fifth Edition builds on the experiences of the authors by acknowledging the dramatic changes taking place in our everyday lives, including developments of social and digital media that have become central to modern life. Author Ernie Stringer and new co-author Alfredo Ortiz Aragón aim to provide a meaningful methodology arising from their extensive field experience for both students and practitioners.  Presenting research that produces practical, effective, and sustainable outcomes to real-world problems, Action Research helps students see the value of their research in a broader context, beyond academia, to effecting change on a larger scale.

New to this Edition:   

  • Updated material reflects key issues, events and activities relevant to the unique circumstances of the current era.  

  • Updated chapter on technology and social media in action research captures the implications of technology for research and participation.   

  • Enhanced reporting procedures outline creative ways for researchers to present reports that are interesting and meaningful to all participants in a research process; not only elite audiences, but also community members and the general population.     

  • Includes insight into how action research can be applied to empower participants and build their capacity to deal with the often-complex problems embedded in the context of their families, communities, organizations and countries.      

  • New Reflection boxes highlight the authors' experiences to illuminate the steps of the research process.          

  • New Lit Corner boxes offer additional examples and tips from published research.


Key Features:            

  • Practice framework that clarify the step-by-step procedures presented in the text.         

  • Biographical Bulletins punctuate the text to clarify meaning and to increase understanding of relevant facets of the research process.         

  • Case studies and vignettes of real-life examples illustrate a wide range of action research applications, making it easy for the reader to relate to their research.         

  • A compelling narrative sparks ideas, discussions, and reflection on how to better link theory and practice through action research.         

  • In-text learning aids, including summary boxes at strategic points in each chapter and an outline for writing a draft report reinforce the material and assist the reader with adapting it to their research.         

  • End of chapter learning activities and summaries provide opportunities to practice the processes described or extend understanding of their purpose.         

  • Appendices and Web links provide access to cutting-edge information on action research, ensuring the most up-to-date resources.


We would like to acknowledge the contribution of our families and friends who provided us with the energy and support needed to engage in the sometimes-demanding work associated with this text. Without their continuing love and support, we would lack the energy that provides the foundation for our work. Ernie is particularly thankful for the love and the strongly supportive role provided by his gracious wife, Rosalie Dwyer, and the continuing interest of their sons, Simon, Jeremy, and Benjamin, and their wives, Jay, Gina, and Marisol. Alfredo is extremely grateful to his patient and lovely wife, Libni Ortiz Valles, and their daughters, Soraya and Selma. He is also grateful to the constant encouragement of his parents, Janet and Carlos Ortiz, and his siblings, Carlos and Christina and their spouses and kids. Finally, he would like to recognize the support and practical wisdom of his two late grandmothers, Juanita Ortiz and Lupe Marie Aragón, who made many sacrifices that enriched his life and ultimately made this accomplishment  possible. 

We are likewise conscious of the many people who, over the years, have contributed to our own professional and academic development. These include many colleagues in universities but also the people in government agencies, community groups, businesses, and health services. We have learned a great deal from their extended experience and the wisdom emerging from their everyday work. The extended changes and additions included in this addition are a tribute to the contribution of an extended team that includes Mike Kent, Crystal Abidin at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia, and Inci Yilmazli Trout, Michelle Vasquez, and Alicja Sieczynska at the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW), Texas. We would also like to thank all those at UIW who contributed ideas and inputs though the participatory literature review process we engaged in. These include Deepti Kharod, Amy Migura, Denise Krohn, Art Hernandez, Sherry Herbers, Monica Hernandez, Norman St. Clair, Jasmine Jackson, Ann Lee, Sandy Guzman-Foster, Caitlin Caswell, Todd Speer, Kimberly Cox, Mark Alvarez, Jacquelyn Poplawsky, Clem Berrios, Srikanth Vemula, and Chao Yi Wang. Finally, a special thanks to our close collaborators in the action research and development practice world, including Larry Hufford, Mary Brydon-Miller, Kent Glenzer, Hilary Bradbury, Beryl Levinger, Evan Bloom, Victor Friedman, Juan Carlos Giles, Raphael Hoetmer, and other friends and allies.


The process of publishing a book is demanding, with many issues related to the writing and editing of the text and its preparation for printing required before final production is achieved. We would like to acknowledge the fine work of the editorial team at SAGE for nurturing us through the process. We particularly recognize Helen Salmon for helping initiate this edition and the ongoing and detailed support of Leah Fargotstein, who provided great assistance in helping us shape what have been quite the radical changes required by the social context in which we now live. In addition, we would like to thank Vishwajeet Mehra and team, who helped bring this text into production.

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